The Presidency has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation at 7.30pm tonight, after initially indicating the ’’family meeting’’ will start at 7pm.
The address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.
As South Africa rolls out its national Covid-19 vaccination programme, government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment and patient recovery rates, as well as compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures.
The President’s address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences.
The address comes just days after the Ministerial Advisory Committee urged government to consider increasing restrictions ahead of the long Easter weekend.
Last week, the MAC's Professor Barry Schoub said the committee had advised the government to implement tougher restrictions in a bid to stem the tide of the coronavirus third wave hitting South Africa.
He said the tighter restrictions would be temporary and should be quickly lifted after Easter.
Echoeing Schoub’s sentiments, SA Medical Research Council president, Professor Glenda Gray, added that restricting movement or implementing an earlier curfew can help mitigate transmission that may occur during the Easter period.
“The third wave is inevitable as we are going into winter months. Easter or any holiday period represents high risk period transmission. Curtailing movement or implementing curfew or restricting crowds is a good way to try to mitigate transmission that may occur during this period,” said Gray.
In his weekly letter, Ramaphosa said recently held a meeting with leaders from various faith-based organisations. He said the leaders understood the threat of a third wave.
"Since the outbreak of the pandemic, religious organisations have taken proactive and positive measures to limit the spread of the disease among worshippers.
’’In the light of these precautionary measures, a number of religious organisations have asked that some of the existing restrictions on the size of congregations be eased, especially as we prepare for Easter and Ramadaan observances," Ramaphosa said.